Q: You recently wrote an article titled, “Fighting for rural Colorado and agriculture.” Can you elaborate on the issues that the agriculture industry is facing in Colorado?
Colorado’s agriculture industry being threatened isn’t a new issue; it dates back to last August when Governor Polis went to a meeting with the staff of the Colorado Department of Agriculture and bought them all Impossible Whoppers. Governor Polis then went on and asked the department members what could be grown in Colorado instead of beef being produced.
There have been numerous attacks on rural Colorado and agriculture, and the most recent one is the appointment of Ellen Kessler to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine. Kessler is an outspoken vegan activist who opposes animal agriculture.
A letter has been made available requesting that Kessler’s appointment be retracted.
Q: Once this letter is submitted, what are the next steps?
Kessler will have to go through the process of a confirmation hearing during the next legislative session. Besides being in contact with Governor Polis, several members of the Senate agriculture committee have also been contacted. These individuals will be the ones who will actually confirm her appointment.
Q: If Kessler is appointed to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine, what kinds of responsibilities will she have and what kind of impact will she have on agriculture?
There are seven members on the State Board of Veterinary Medicine and they are given the responsibility of interpreting veterinary practice law on specific cases. They are expected to do this in a fair and equitable way that reflects the intention of the law as it is written. This interpretation left to a person’s bias or agenda is concerning.
Colorado is currently experiencing a shortage of large animal veterinarians. The last thing we want to do is make Colorado a state where vets don’t want to practice because of an extremist that is working against their profession.
Q: Since Governor Polis has been in office, has he proposed other anti-agriculture agendas?
There is a significant amount of legislation in Colorado that is anti-agriculture. The most recent legislation involved egg producers. They had an extremist group approach them and say that they were planning to run a ballot initiative to make all producers go to a cage-free production system. As a response, the producers partnered with HSUS to write this legislation, which passed and now will require every egg sold in Colorado to come from a cage-free environment by 2025.
Q: Do you have any closing statements regarding the fight for agriculture in Colorado?
Agriculture as a whole doesn’t want to play dirty. Those involved in the industry are busy with their operations, but at some point, producers need to help defend their industry. This letter that will be sent to Governor Polis gave producers an opportunity to do something. So far, there are 500 pages of signatures and at last count, 65 pages of comments. With that being said, we still need people to show up going forward; the fight is far from over.